Vineyards and Bees: A Surprise

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It seems that honeybees are in trouble.  Diseases attacking bee hives, loss of habitat, and other species of bee competitors have all combined to make a crisis for America’s bee populations.

In order for fruit to grow, bees must pollinate, meaning, go from flower to flower gathering and leaving pollen. So, how is the trouble for bees affecting California vineyards?

Answer:  It’s not.  This is because grapevines, like some other plants, are self-pollinating (wind carries the pollen from vine to vine).  Bees play no role.  However, their sting can be felt by harvest workers sometimes, since bees love to visit vineyards during harvest to feed on ripe grapes.  However, the bigger problem for harvest workers is wasps who can nest in the vines (unlike bees) and are usually there for many months.

Viticulturists can fight back by installing insect netting (much denser than bird netting), burning wasp nests or  conducting midnight raids to knock wasp nests from the vines.

Anyway, that’s the buzz from the vineyards…

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